Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Vomit The Soul - Apostles Of Inexpression

Full Length, July 2009
Unique Leader Records

Italian Brutal Death Metal trio Vomit the Soul have returned with their latest offering ''Apostles of Inexpression'' which is the band's second full length. They shot into the Italian underground almost a decade back but got attention only after their debut full length in 2005 which was entitled as ''Portraits of Inhuman Abomination''.
After hearing their name for the first time, you'd be reminded of the Cannibal Corpse song from ''Butchered at Birth'' but don't let the name decieve you. Albeit the band was highly influenced by the Floridian pioneers during their earlier days, there is certainly no CC worship going on here but a purely 'slamtastic' performance on AOI which is capable of blowing away your brain into disintegrated fragments.

The 35 minutes juggernaut unleashes 8 tracks oozing with groovy slams and razor sharp technical riffage. The production is sharp, crispy and provides a great substance to the band's compositional skills. The recording was finished way back in April/May 2008 at the 16th Cellar Studios in Rome but it was able to see the light of day only a year after when the band inked a 2 disc deal with American giants Unique Leader records. The cover art done by Marco Hassman also stands apart as a stellar exemplary of splendid graphic imagery.

Speaking of the musicianship being executed on the album, there is a well improved and proficient display of brutal mechanism. The band has certainly raised the bar from their earlier full length and has been able to pull off a more aggressive and vehement performance. Its not very often that you hear a brutal death metal album carrying all ingredients to make it taste spicier and jucier than ever but Apostles of Inexpression is definitely a record which satisfies the urge of BDM maniacs.
The vocals are your average down tuned, exhaled gutturals slightly in vein of Dying Fetus although more throaty and deep, occasional grunts and some nicely executed high pitched squeals. The riffs written by Max (who also handles the vocals) are spectacularly catchy and extravagantly heavy. Being the sole guitarist in the band, his credibility has to be certainly applauded since managing both the lead and rythm sections single handedly and still being able to make such ominous and catchy grooves is certainly not a cakewalk. His guitar armoury relies heavily upon dissonant tremelo picked riffs and efficiently palm muted riffage.

Maurizio has been a beast behind the drum kit providing the spontaniety which this album highly boasts off. Graciously timed blast beats, grooves and double bass sections prodive aptness to the striking riffage. The recording done at 16th Stellar Studios also deserve a special mention behind the percussive efficiencies since the snare and cymbals sound very sonorous and manage not be yet another ''tin can'' drum sound which many of the brutal death metal/goregrind albums possess.

But one of the biggest highlights of this album according to me has to be Andrea's extravagantly rich bass lines! Holy shit! I can't remember the last time I heard a death metal album having such a munching bass line. The bass flows unconstrainedly along with the riffs throughout the album and it gives an orgasmic pleasure whenever I sit down and play this record.
Its quite interesting to see how all the three departments have been able to make a healthy accord with each other and have been able to give a monstrous output. Vomit the Soul have been able to fuse technicality with a straightforward genre like Slam quite suavely and managed to be not just another medicore band whose attempts at experimentation failed miserably and thats the point where I'd like to give them maximum marks.

So, if you still haven't heard this amazing album, then curse yourself for being extremely sluggish and try to give it a listen as soon as you can! I am sure that it'd leave you basking with extacy and your neighbours fuming with angst.

P.S - Emo kids beware! Vomit the Soul are coming to hack you into pieces and mince in a meatgrinder. (Grins ghoulishly!)

Best songs - Overcrowd, Self Perception Veil and Prototypes of Value Incarnation

Final rating - 9/10

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Lunar Aurora - Andacht

I don't remember many Black Metal albums I heard which carried a dense and mystifying atmosphere as this one. This is definitely one of the most eerie sounding albums out there and that's what makes Lunar Aurora a cut above your average Black Metal bands. Andacht is a musical masterpiece which grows on you after each listen. It's one of the few ''love at first listen'' albums in my opinion. You can never get tired of it. It's a sad thing that they are on hold now and the future of Lunar Aurora looks pretty dubious. But what they have left behind them is certainly going to get the band accolades in the future as well. Their musical prowess really justifies their name. Lunar Aurora : ''The aura of the Moon''. The cold and melancholic atmosphere takes the listener to an unending dark celestial voyage.

The album contains 6 Intense tracks which captivates the listener almost till an hour. The guitar and drum onslaught on this album is absolutely rapturous. Pummeling tremolo picked riffs and nefarious shrieks and howls define the somber mood of Andacht. But the biggest highlight of this release are the bizarre Keyboard passages and sound effects which are instrumental in creating a desolate atmosphere and sorrowful mood which is the real strength of this musical masterpiece. The opening track ''Gluck'' is an absolute majestic exemplification of the unique songwriting capability of Aran and Co. With amazing Spoken vocals, beautiful acoustic interludes and chorus this song has been deftly etched in my memories. The sound effects used were something i never heard! The way they have been intertwined with the music is just incredible and gives me goose pimples on each listen. Geisterschiff begins with a amazing sample which resembles the sound of calm sea waves and fades into the riffs pretty soon. A euphoric ambience supports the riffs which makes this song an exquisite one. Lunar Aurora's ability to maintain the smooth flow of their instruments is far beyond belief.The next tracks ''Dunkler Mann'', ''Finlding'' and ''Der Pakt'' are full of culminating samples and dense atmosphere. What makes these songs so special is the amazing variance used in the vocal department. The clean spoken vocals sound almost godly! Probably the next best i heard apart from Lykathea Aflame's epic album ''Elvenfris''.

It's really hard to believe that a drum machine was used in this album because they sound so natural and precise. Blast beats have been executed in full glory which are totally in-sync with the incredible and herculean riffage. Various tempo changes and transitions depict the mighty grandeur of this album. Another striking highlight is the flawless production. But It's definitely not ''polished''. A good production is quintessential for a band like Lunar Aurora whose music depends mostly on the atmosphere otherwise it'd sound too dissonant. When it comes to bands like Lunar Aurora, Verdunkeln, Darkspace etc, it's the atmosphere which matters the most!

Overall, this release is capable enough to make it to the list of one of the best albums ever released in this genre. This is not simply music but a heavy slab of emotions. It takes oneself into the abysmal depths of solitude and anguish. This subtle skill of Lunar Aurora make them as the connoisseurs of desolation. If you are a fan of black metal, then i see no reason as to why this album shouldn't be a part of your collection. So, if you truly yearn to drown in a pool of melancholy then do yourselves a favour and listen to Andacht and other mighty releases by Lunar Aurora. I am sure that you'll be more than satisfied. It can't get as mysterious and perfect as this one.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Benediction - Transcend the Rubicon


In the genre of Old School Death Metal, the American and Swedish bands dominated the scene in the prime years of the Death Metal era. But with Transcend the Rubicon, British band Benediction brought in a new sound that would make this band be counted among the best. The album is not machine gun fast, like what most other bands released at that time, but consists of mid-tempo, well-structured songs with enough aggression to satisfy. The riffs are fresh, with a strong 80's Thrash Metal vibe, and are well complemented by the crisp guitar tone of the two guitarists Darren Brooks and Peter Rew. TTR has a very heavy rhythm section with thick basslines which ensures that many heads will bang. Drummer Ian Treacy does a fantastic job with his amazing stick-work and double bass rolls. Dave Ingram's growls fit in very well which lend a fuller sound, although his vocals very closely resemble that of Benediction's previous vocalist, Mark 'Barney' Greenway who left the band to join Napalm Death. Lyrics of the songs deal with suffering and introspection, unlike the more popular blasphemous and gore-drenched themes followed by other bands in the genre. The highlight of the album is it's production. It's raw and it's bloody fantastic! Add to that some killer album artwork by master artist Dan Seagrave, and you have one hell of an OSDM album!